Leander economic development guru offers advice to Liberty Hill

Kirk D. Clennan

By KATE LUDLOW

“You’ve got a friend in Leander. You can count on Leander to be of service to Liberty Hill.”

Kirk D. Clennan, CEcD, Economic Development Director for the City of Leander, spoke Tuesday to members of the Christian Business Leaders Association, reminding them that they were headed for the same growth and change that has recently transformed his community.

In a program that took, “20 years to write, and 20 minutes to read,” Clennan introduced his presentation “The 7 P’s,” which focused on economic growth and organization tips for the city.

Encouraging the city to adopt a “push vs. pull mentality where we’re all pushing or pulling in the same direction,” Clennan stressed the need to put aside personal differences and work together for a common theme.

“You need to ensure your differences are not vented publically all the time,” he said. “When there is constant arguing in public all the time, that really undermines the private sector.

“You have to ask yourself ‘Do we want prosperity for all of us? Or for some of us?,’” he continued.

Clennan also gave participants an insight into Leander’s future plans.

“We see the area at Hwy 29, and Ronald Reagan Blvd as a Hallmark Entrance,” he said.

That region is the beginning of Leander’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and will eventually feature mixed-use development.

Clennan said the City of Leander also hopes the technological development sprawl that is currently along Parmer Lane will “keep coming right down the road.”

Clennan sees Leander as, “five to seven years away from a hospital, our own hospital, and three to five years until ACC goes vertical.”

Clennan says Leander’s aim is to create a place to “Live, work play, learn, shop, and stay,” breaking the idea that Leander is just a bedroom community of Austin.

“We can capitalize on our proximity to Austin,” Clennan said, though later in the meeting, he noted that he encouraged Liberty Hill to create a city where people could, “be born, go to school, get a job, retire and be buried.

“Every city should focus on its programs and processes,” he said.  “They enable people to know the rules of the game. It’s how you take a horizontal piece of land, and develop it into a vertical office building that puts people to work. There’s a process there.”

Clennan then reached out to local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce offering advice and guidance, as well as some free resources for more information.

“We’re the twin cities of Leander and Liberty Hill. Honestly, we feel more potential for Liberty Hill’s growth than Cedar Park’s,” says Clennan.

In addition to serving as Economic Development Director, Clennan also leads the Leander Public Arts Commission, whose mission is to further non-profit programs that encourage, support and sponsor public awareness and interest in the fine arts.